Thursday, April 3, 2008

Budgeting: Our Budget

So, I quit my job. We were able to swing it by paying off the car early ($237.61/month saved), and postponing our student loan payments (a little more than $500/month saved).

Side note: our student loan payments are the bane of our financial existence. They really eat up a huge chunk of our income. Advice: do not take out lots of student loans to pay for an education that will not allow you to make a decent living, like, as a singer, for example.

Ironically, I will be going back to school for 15 months, and will definitely have to pony up to the student loan counter. However, my new chosen field (I will earn a B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science) has an average starting salary of $47,000. That really seems like a TON of money to me.

I digress. Here WAS our actual monthly family budget (post-job):

INCOME: 2400.00 (Tony's take-home pay)
EXPENSES: 2408.87 (Hey! Not too bad!)

With the increase in food and gas prices, here is our current budget:

INCOME: 2400.00
EXPENSES: 2717.87 (Yikes!)

Umm, wow. We're working on the food bill (truly, we're not extravagant shoppers: no soda, no snacks, no ice cream), but the car expenses have to stay. Tony HAS to drive to work and FOR work (he sometimes has to drive over 100 miles in a day). He does get reimbursed for mileage, but his non-profit reduced the rate about 6 months ago, and, of course, gas prices have climbed steadily ever since. I drive VERY little...not much to cut there.

These are the expenses that we could possibly cut (along with comments about our willingness to cut said item):

  1. Contribution to Hal's 529: $75 (no)
  2. life insurance: $65.39 (scary!)
  3. internet service: $63.15 (umm, no way)
  4. clothing: $20 (yes, that's really our clothing budget)
  5. haircuts (Hal and Lauren): $20 (this one often goes to food instead)
  6. Medical $50 (with Tony's HSA, we usually don't have to spend this...hooray!)
  7. Entertainment (WOW and Netflix) $21.33 (I'm tempted to get rid of Netflix, but I'm not sure my husband could part with World of Warcraft)
  8. Tony's lunch money: $40 (We often tap into this, as well)
  9. Gifts: $40 (this is for birthday gifts for our immediate families and ourselves...maybe we will reduce the amount...sorry fam!)
  10. Met Opera tickets: $28 (this will go up next year to $39...hmm
The good news: Tony is up for a raise pretty soon (it ought to be a good one...he's pretty awesome). Also good: no credit card debt, no car debt, no foreclosure (that's one nice thing about living in an apartment)!!!!

The bad: I'll be taking some night classes this summer and this fall (we have the money saved), and the thought of working on my off nights is kind of a HUGE drag. Also, we aren't making progress on our student loans. I probably just need to stop being a baby, suck it up, and get a job. There are certainly people in more difficult situations than we are.

What financial struggles have you faced, and what did you do to try to overcome them?


Karen said...

Oh Lor... Money money money... Those of us swimming in a sea of student loans know that it's not necessarily the actual money that's often the problem, it's the way your heart starts beating a million miles a minute when you realize how long it'll take to pay off! You'll find a job (and a good one!) soon enough but enjoy this sweet time you have with Hal right now!
I also need to give you a huge pat on the back for your responsible budgeting! Wow. You guys are an inspiration for me to get my act together...
Love you friend!

Tizzalicious said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

You're doing great, Tizz! You're a really savvy marketer...I'm impressed!

KER!!!!! I totally miss you. You need to come over after church some Sunday...maybe next next Sunday (the 13th)?

Cafe Johnsonia said...

Ugh. I want to start crying just thinking about budgeting!!! I totally hear the--get a job that will actually allow you to pay off your school loans. I think we'll be paying ours off for the next 20 years or more.

I'm ashamed to say that I let my husband take care of all the budgeting. I only want to hear how little I have to use each month for the necessities--like chocolate chips and diapers. :)

Honey said...


I read your blog a few times, I really like it! I can definitely relate to the budgeting and those crazy student loan payments! I can't even allow myself to think of other things I could do with that money each month. My budget is to the dime each month, and I redo my budget every so often to see if there is any 'squeezing' room. Good luck with school!

Banana-head Pancake said...

I'm not sure I have anything really exciting to say I just wanted to let you know I really appreciate you sharing this on your blog. It is refreshing and inspiring for me to see how other people are handling money & how it coincides with life!

I feel often in a budgetary struggle and can get frustrated - and it just feels really good knowing other people think about it, too. I've noticed some may hide this, and pretend like these issues don't exist, but they do for me!

So, yeah, thank you!

:) lauren